It takes someone special to see your potential and to help you see it – to show you the possibilities and to motivate you toward your individual goals. With an average tenure of 12 years, our highly credentialed and experienced instructors are the best in the world at doing just that, delivering measurable results only achievable through a fully committed, full-time faculty focused on your individual needs.
Alex Cohen had an idea for creating a communication company and he had a name for it. When he Googled to see if anyone else had used the name, he discovered we had! He also discovered that our Speakeasy was very compatible with his vision.
Alex Cohen has a breathtaking array of accomplishments. He’s bilingual. English is his first language; Spanish is the language he taught himself. He worked for five years in both languages as a Speech-Language Pathologist with the Dignity Health Medical Group. Alex holds a Masters of Arts in Communication Disorders and Sciences from San Jose University. He’s traveled extensively in Central and South America, and, also, in Europe and Asia. In fact, he’s lived in ten different cities and traveled to over forty countries. He holds a sky-diving license, enjoys bungee jumping, snowboarding, scuba diving, surfing and camping.
Alexis Holman discovered Speakeasy by reading the sign on our Atlanta office building. Wondering what kind of company this was, did some internet sleuthing, and found her next job. As a fully qualified speech-language pathologist, she’s found her purpose in her profession and says, “I love facilitating getting people from point A to point B – knowing that I’ve helped someone and seeing the impact of that.”
Alexis serves as Speakeasy’s Director of Faculty Operations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from the University of Memphis. Since attaining her degrees, she has worked in private practice with clientele ranging from pediatric to geriatric populations in day care facilities and homes in Charlotte, N.C., and also in schools, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities in Atlanta, GA. Alexis is clinically certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is also certified in Compton’s PESL accent modification by the Institute of Language and Phonology.
Bill would make an ideal dinner companion. He’s a lively and knowledgeable conversationalist. He’s interested in a wide variety of subjects. Most of all, he’s interested in you. Perhaps these are skills he learned through his education in counseling and psychological services, or through his extensive work conducting instructional seminars in business, university and agency settings. Or maybe they come naturally and he’s devoted his career to enhancing them.
Speakeasy believes in connection in communication, and Bill is a great example of connection in action. You’ll quickly feel that he’s tuned in to you, to your needs and your goals. And this connection energizes you toward positive change. He brings another skill that helps you move forward. A colleague describes it as an ability “to express his thoughts in verbal images that you can quickly relate to.” With Bill’s help, you see your goal more clearly — and move toward it more quickly.
Irish-born Careena Melia, now based in New York, seems much too young for her long list of accomplishments. She began studying ballet as a child and by the age of 16 she was training in France with a dance company. With this preparation and other, she acquired over 20 years of professional experience in dance, theater (acting and directing), film, television and voiceovers. She founded and became the Artistic Director of Walden Shakespeare, a theater company that brings Shakespeare to New York City and the Greater Boston area. When she discovered how much she enjoyed teaching business people, she did a random Google search. Speakeasy was the company whose philosophy met her own high standards.
Careena became a Certified Associate teacher of Fitzmaurice voice work and is in the process of working towards her certification in Linklater voice work. She has a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Harvard University. She’s a member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, Voice and Speech Trainers Association and the Association of Theatre Movement Educators.
Collin knows the world of television journalism inside and out. He’s collected some twenty-five awards for his writing, producing and on-air talent. These include the Columbia University-DuPont Award, a dozen regional Emmy awards and a National Daytime Emmy as well as awards from the American Film Festival, the Scott Newman Foundation, the National Education Association and the International Film Producers Association. For ten years Collin was Senior Vice-President of Production for the CWK Network, Inc., a multi-media company producing news stories, documentaries and web-based resources for more than fifty stations in the U.S.
There isn’t a halfhearted, sleepy, or disinterested bone in Collins body. He is both highly professional and deeply in earnest. Collin asks probing questions and specializes in the art of coaching clients to give substantive answers. Collin received his an English literature degree from Case Western Reserve University. He began working as a consultant for Speakeasy in 1988 and currently delivers private coaching as well as leading a number of our core content and style programs.
When David summarizes his military career, you get a hint of his special brand of humor. As he puts it, “I always wanted to travel, so I joined the Marines and ended up going to the desert.” His colleagues at Speakeasy admire his four-year military experience in which he served in Iraq on two seven-month tours. David says his biggest passion is food. He learns about other cultures through eating different foods and is currently interested in Ethiopian and Indian cuisines. David also loves stand-up comedy, comedy in general, and making people laugh.
He spent two years doing clinical therapy in nursing homes and subacute rehabs before joining Speakeasy. Since Speakeasy is a global company, he’s thrilled by the opportunity it offers to see more of the world. After his military career, David studied to become a speech pathologist at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. He is a licensed SLP in California and New Jersey, and a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association with a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Pathology.
Nearly 40 years of experience with Speakeasy clients. A widely respected voice coach, who has worked with a boxing champion and a top CNN foreign correspondent. Holder of two master’s degrees. That’s Doris – a real pro. In her presence, any intimidation you might have felt melts away. In Doris’ skillful hands, you recover some of that love of learning you had long ago.
Perhaps the most important element in Doris’ biography is her love of the theater. As an accomplished actress and director, she has a great love and respect for “play”. Doris holds a Master’s in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University in New Orleans and a Masters in Speech Pathology from Emory University. As a Distinguished Faculty member, Doris delivers all of Speakeasy’s Style-Impact Programs and private coaching. She has been an instructor with Speakeasy for 40 years, and she is a clinically certified member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association, a member of the Georgia Speech and Hearing Association, and of Zeta Phi Eta, a national honorary society for outstanding women in speech.
Doug insures that our communication and physical environment accurately reflect our corporate image and values. He also provides instruction, private coaching, and design and consulting services to Speakeasy’s clients on presentation content and visual support issues, and heads all design efforts delivered through our Visual Communication Group. He brings to this multi-faceted role a background in graphic, advertising, architectural and interior design. The processes he uses in working with Speakeasy’s clients are derived from almost forty years of experience in developing communication through all of these mediums. With Doug as your guide, you feel equipped for your own exploration
To his colleagues Doug has another title: adventurer – curious about cultures and creatures, especially marine creatures. Doug received a dual Bachelors of Environmental Design and Architecture from Auburn University. He serves as Chair for our Core Curriculum Committee and has been working with Speakeasy on communication and content planning issues for almost 35 years.
Joanne is that very fit woman playing tennis, skiing, and hiking who always has stories cooking in her head… she writes fiction for fun. You might also catch her taking her Tibetan terrier for a walk. Although she took time off from Speakeasy to finish a Phd. and to establish a practice in psychology, she has been an instructor with us for a total of over 30 years.
You can expect to learn a lot from Joanne as an instructor. Her style is never pushy; she’s gentle, supportive – and tremendously effective. She has extensive experience with the workings of non-profit organizations, but much of her business savvy comes from having created and sold her own practice in speech pathology. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco School of Professional Psychology. Joanne is a Principal Faculty member at Speakeasy and delivers almost all of our programs. She’s an ASHA certified speech pathologist, and is licensed both as a speech pathologist and as a clinical psychologist. She is a member of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association and of the California Speech and Hearing Association.
Jorge loves to travel especially internationally. Originally from Panama, he has lived all over the U.S. from Miami to Atlanta, from Little Rock, Arkansas to San Diego and Palm Springs, California. Working out and hiking balance his delight in eating out. Speakeasy is a natural home for Jorge who is a firm believer in ongoing personal and professional development. With Jorge you know you’ve found someone with your best interest at heart. Your gain is his gain, as he believes the best way to create success in your own life is to help other people become successful.
Jorge focuses on the style-impact side of our work and holds an B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Louisville and an M.B.A. from Bellarmine University He is a Fulbright scholar, a member of the American International Relations Club and was awarded the certificate of “Kentucky Ambassador of Good Will” for promoting multicultural understanding.
Kevin is a keenly observant instructor and a man with a gift for conversation. His diverse background has given him a wide range of experiences to draw from. He’s a retired Lieutenant Colonel (United States Air Force, Air National Guard).
Before joining Speakeasy, he was Senior Consultant with Firestorm Solutions, and a National Crisis Expert and VP of Crisis Management with SunTrust. Kevin served as an Executive Officer with the Department of Defense and in a leadership and training role with FEMA. As a recognized medical subject matter expert, he was appointed to several highly visible projects including Ebola response and National Security Special Events.
Kevin loves reading books on personal and professional development. Among his favorites are The Five Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell and Start with Why by Simon Sinek. He enjoys sport shooting, watching the Falcons and gardening. He favors planting azaleas and roses of different varieties and colors. Kevin learned from his years as a senior leader the importance of communication. He says, “I’m proud of being part of a company that helps leaders grow to communicate in a powerful way. “Additionally, Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Excelsior College and a Masters of Science in Information Technology from Trident University International
Nick Jermyn was born in Horsham, England and grew up in what he describes as “the wilds of Surrey” near the small town of Dorking. He joined the Royal Marines Reserves as a Marine at 17, and the regular Royal Marines Commandos as an Officer at 23, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel 18 years later. When asked what he values about his Marine years, he says, “The comradeship, the quality of the people, the leadership and life, the travel – to 60 different countries –and the opportunity to help and serve others – but most of all the comradeship.”
What appealed most to Nick when he learned about Speakeasy? “I love the emphasis on unleashing a person’s true potential, rather than just telling people what to do.” Nick earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Masters of Arts in International Relations, a minor in Drama from King Alfred’s College, Winchester. Nick holds a postgraduate Certificate in Education from Plymouth College.
Pat knows your voice. As a Speakeasy instructor, Pat brings 30 years of clinical experience evaluating and treating adults with communication disorders. As a clinician, Pat has insight into how a person can best change a behavior. It highlights her commitment to creating a safe and comfortable environment for personal growth and experimentation. Pat also held management roles for the past 25 years, making her intimately familiar with the demands executives face. Her coaching is all about understanding the uniqueness of each individual client. Pat says, “every person has potential inside of them they have not yet tapped.” Pat brings a gift for drawing out a person’s distinct communication strengths to help them build their own individual style.
Pat holds B.S. and Master’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology, both from the University of Minnesota, and is a licensed speech-language pathologist, certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She was a charter Board Recognized Specialist in Swallowing and has served on the Executive Board of the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is a current member of the Voice Special Interest Division, the Association for Talent Development and the National Association of Female Executives.
Paula takes a very active approach to life. When something interests her, she finds a way to try it. When Paula guides you, you know you have her full attention. She is on your side one hundred percent and her patience is unlimited. Her background has given her special expertise in speech and voice – she is a clinically certified speech pathologist – and has a special appreciation for the demands of the business world. She has had extensive experience in banking, telecommunications and IT.
Paula earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and a Masters in Communication Disorders from North Carolina Central University. She spent five years as a speech pathologist in the public school system working with the secondary student population. She is a clinically certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and of the Georgia Speech and Hearing Association. She has licensure as a speech pathologist in two states – California and Georgia. Paula serves as Speakeasy’s SVP of Faculty and Dean of Curriculum.
Peter Kristensson must be the most global instructor at Speakeasy. As he says, “I’m the person who required the most miles in order to complete my training.” He had to travel first to Hong Kong, then to Atlanta, on to Dubai and finally back home to Shanghai before he was ready to lead sessions on his own. He’s lived in eight countries, is fluent in Swedish, English and French; has a good comprehension of Norwegian, Danish and Dutch; has studied Spanish and Mandarin, but says he needs a lot of work for comprehension in those two.
Initially, Peter joined Speakeasy in a business development role. When he went through one of Speakeasy’s style programs, he experienced his biggest “a-ha” moment in learning to increase his listener awareness. “That changes every conversation you have from that day forward.” His desire to teach was driven by his desire for self-development and by a desire “to be a part of the magic we create in the classroom.” What fuels his passion? “Seeing that each person who comes to us leaves as a better version of themselves.” Peter holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Human Resources from The Hotel School of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. and a M.B.A. from Texas A&M- Commerce. He is a Beta Gamma Sigma honor society member.
Rebecca West is one of the most radiant people you will ever meet. She describes herself as a lifelong learner continually striving for the best within her and she is passionate about teaching and empowering people. Rebecca believes in family first and treasures time spent with her family. Well-traveled, she loves exploring all the world has to offer. She savors beauty in all its diverse forms – nature, art, music, literature, dance, food, the ocean, time with loved ones, a smile, a laugh.
Rebecca comes to Speakeasy after a decade of experience as a speech-language pathologist in a wide variety of settings, with clients ranging from three-month old babies to Holocaust survivors over ninety years of age. Her study of neurolinguistics and neuroscience has been fueled by her fascination with the human mind and its direct correlation to human potential. Rebecca holds both a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and two Bachelor of Science degrees in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, as well as, Human Development. Nationally certified in speech-language pathology by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, she is licensed as an SLP in three states.
Sandra has delivers all of Speakeasy’s programs and has been conducting seminars and making presentations for the company since 1989. While Sandra has been with Speakeasy for almost 27 years, the special qualities she brings to our clients were already evident at the beginning of her career. After completing her graduate program at Columbia, she worked as an educator with students in Harlem. She thrived on challenge. She still does.
Sandra thrives on the challenge of helping Speakeasy clients meet their communication goals. She listens carefully to what you want to accomplish, and she remembers. So just when your energy flags, or your commitment waivers, she steps right in — reminding you, encouraging you, or suggesting an alternate route. That’s the kind of support you’ll get from Sandra. Her Speakeasy colleagues also experience it. As one observes, “She’s consistent and determined. She shoots straight, working hard to be sure I accomplish what I’ve told her I want to do. She stays with me until I get where I need to go.”
Torian Salary has over 16 years of experience in training and leadership development, as well as in marketing and public relations. Torian discovered his passion when he was in a singing group in high school. He found he loved being in front of people. This led him to grow as an instructor, as a youth minister who’s big on helping those less fortunate, and as a motivational speaker. His dissertation for his Ph.D. was on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in business and personal relationships.
Torian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Public Relations from Troy University in Troy, Alabama and a Master of Arts in Innovative Leadership from Western International University in Phoenix, Arizona. Torian earned a Ph.D. in Education and Organizational Leadership from North Central University.
When Victoria says she loves polo, she isn’t talking about taking a place in the stands; she’s talking about taking her place on a horse and playing the game. Clients find this high achiever a thoroughly empathetic and encouraging instructor. Before joining Speakeasy, Victoria was a consultant for the military in a psychological outreach program. For twenty years she coached lawyers in high stakes litigations, sometimes rehearsing them for as long as two years for a big trial. What drew her to Speakeasy was this observation: “Speakeasy gives people the opportunity to open doors for themselves.” She also likes helping people overcome their fear of public speaking and believes that the Speakeasy experience “can enrich their lives and open up different dimensions of their personalities – professionally and personally.”
Victoria moved to New York from New Orleans. She finds New York a vibrant epicenter and a very stimulating environment – and she also loves the Hamptons where she plays polo during the summer. She is a graduate of Florida State University in Social Science Education and holds a Masters in Counselor Education and Mental Health Counseling from the University of New Orleans.